Kalaghat was at least fifty miles away, but Sher Singh hoped that if he could get through the jungle and cross the two rivers in between, he might get a lift in a bullock cart or perhaps even a broken-down truck for the last part of his journey. But not yet. He was alone on the track that wound into the forest, into night. Not quite alone, though. Around him lay primeval forest in which the struggle of life continued as it had done since the beginning of the world. And in this jungle lived the animals of the forest, the monkeys, the peacocks, tiger and panther and bears and elephants. The deer were now so poached and decimated that the beasts of prey had to kill domestic animals for food. Sometimes even man. Night fell. The sky blushed purple. Black. It blazed with stars. Sher Singh had good eyes. He could still see. Presently, the moon rose. The sight of bear tracks in the dust-the square front paw and long back one, with the shaggy claws-made him glance round uneasily. He had once seen a man who had been mauled by a bear, all his tace torn away. He quickened his step. On a cliff above a river-bed, Sher Singh knew he could go no further without rest. Sweat was running off his shaking flesh. He set Kunwar down gently against a tree. Suddenly all Sher Singh's muscles, shrinking back to their natural positions, thrilled with piercing pain. He lay against a tree with his eyes shut, recovering. It was then he heard the jostle and squeal of elephants. Below him on the river-bed, the elephants travelled. He could see the COws and the babies, and one great old tusker. He was playing his trunk to and fro to learn whatever the breeze could tell him; and suddenly he hesitated. The trunk came round towards the boys. Her Singh chilled with fright. With Kunwar to carry, he could elther climb nor run. Prayer after prayer fled up like birds from his frightened spirit.